The art of the creative break
Barely a week goes by in which we don’t hear or read about people suffering from burn-out symptoms, that they are no longer able to withstand stress, or are simply fed up with everyday life. The road there is usually long and thorny. Being able to recognize the warning signs in a timely manner will help pull the brake and regain new energy.
We have gotten used to being available around the clock. Not even our spare time is ours alone. Schedules for job, sports, children, family activities leave no leeway. More and more activities must be packed into less and less time. Even the few weeks of vacation are packed to the max: too many expectations, too many plans. The seeming feeling of relaxation doesn’t stick around for long. The performance stress in daily work life suffocates more and more people.
In order to counteract this trend we must learn to take breaks. Sensible breaks that are creative and silent; are an alternative to enervating everyday life. Simply the awareness of what stresses us and how to avoid stress is already one of the most important first steps. It is about taking a pause and becoming aware of our feelings. If we know how we are truly doing, then we will also know what's missing and what’s fun. That is very personal and is different for everyone.
It’s about the small breaks we take in our day, which we must integrate as a fixed component of our life. Time to take a deep breath, change the scene, put things into the right perspective. A step to the side to find a better perspective. The healthy change between activity and passivity brings dynamics back into your life as well as the joy of doing things. Plan time for yourself. 20 minutes for daily relaxation, one hour of physical activity twice a week – or whatever works for you. A walk through the park or one hour of active play with your children, cooking with friends or a yoga class. Indulge yourself with a massage or a good book; do simply nothing for a little while. Actively remove yourself from the wheel of perpetual availability. Turn your cell phone off and take a deep breath. And what’s most important: think only of yourself for this one moment, without thinking of what’s next. When you enjoy your break with all of your senses in order to fully take up your task again, new energy will be your reward. Just like the old Chinese proverb: "If you are in a hurry, walk slowly!”